The Collection Building

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a unique collection of superb works that span the entire art spectrum and many centuries. From medieval to contemporary fine art, from decorative art to industrial design, from prints and drawings to photography—the museum is home to special objects of international importance. This makes Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen a distinct and matchless part of the Dutch museum scene. This is a collection to cherish, to exhibit and to look after.

The space available for displays that do justice to all the many aspects of the collection is necessarily limited, so part of the collection is kept in depositories and works are regularly lent for exhibitions at other museums and art institutions.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is tasked with the professional custodianship of Rotterdam’s municipal art collection and of works of art that have been entrusted to the city council for safekeeping; they include loans from in-house foundations and other partners of the museum. For many years, however, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's depositories have not met modern-day requirements for safety, security, facilities and risk management. In 2005 some of the depositories were declared unfit because of flooding, inadequate fire prevention and lack of compartmentalization. Starting in 2010, temporary depositories were rented at external locations. Rotterdam City Council and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen both recognize that action is necessary to bring the safety, security and management of the collection up to standard.

The Rationale for a Collection Building

Managing and conserving a collection are specialized museum activities that are usually carried out behind the scenes. The Collection Building will give the works in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen's collection greater public visibility. The building will contain an expertise centre, where restoration and other treatments are carried out on works and research is conducted into the collection. Projections and multimedia systems will make it possible for anyone who is interested to see what is going on. But the museum wants to do more than just manage and conserve its own collection. It also wants to establish a public-private partnership by offering private collectors the opportunity to keep their collections in the Collection Building, and in so doing to make use of the museum's expertise. It will be possible to exhibit works from the collections in modest exhibition areas. Finally the museum will create awareness among younger people about the importance of our cultural heritage by means of targeted educational programmes. This will make the Collection Building more than a depository where the museum ‘just’ keeps a collection. Visitors will be able to see the work actively being done on the collection, and this will give it a higher profile among members of the public and collectors.

This spectacular and inviting building will be constructed in 2017 in the Museumpark. Designed by a renowned architect, it will be an icon that enhances Rotterdam's image as a modern and innovative city. It will be in synergy with and complementary to the adjacent Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The museum is concerned first and foremost with exhibiting, whereas the Collection Building's job is to literally feed’ the museum with works of art from its treasure chambers for display in the museum.

The public-private partnership will not be confined to renting out depository space and providing other services to collectors. It will also involve collaboration with Rotterdam City Council, Stichting De Verre Bergen and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in order to realize the Collection Building.

The cooperation between the City Council, the museum and a private party—in which the investment and operating costs of the Collection Building will be jointly organized—will continue the tradition started 165 years ago when ‘Museum Boymans’ was founded. Private individuals have always played a key role in the museum's growth and development. The basis was laid by the collector F.J.O. Boijmans, who was followed later on by others, including the shipping magnates D.G. van Beuningen and Willem van der Vorm. Close ties have been built up with hundreds of private collectors during the museum’s existence—over a century and a half. Many collections have ended up in the museum during this era. More than thirty thousand works have been donated to the museum, for all sorts of reasons, since it opened its doors. The various in-house foundations have also been an important part of the museum's history through their long-term loans. All these different organizations and people have contributed to the museum's collection up to the present day and are maintaining the tradition of partnership between the City Council, the museum and private individuals. In this sense the new Collection Building will support the ‘Boijmans’ brand and vice versa.

More information on: